at Boston Celtics (38-35) at Minnesota Timberwolves (26-46)
Monday, April 1, 2013
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #74, Road Game #38
TV: CSN-NE, WFTC, NBA-LP 758(BOS)/759 (MIN)
Radio: WEEI, WCCO-AM
Target Center Probable Starters PG SGSF PF C
Avery Bradley..... Paul Pierce ..... Jeff Green...... Brandon Bass ..... Chris Wilcox Celtics Reserves
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (foot/ankle) day to day
Fab Melo Probable StartersPG SG SF PF C
Ricky Rubio.....Luke Ridnour..... Andre Kirilenko ..... Derrick Williams..... Greg Stiemsma Wolves Reserves
Brandon Roy (knee) out
Kevin Love (hand) out
Nikola Pekovik (ankle) questionable
Malcolm Lee (knee) out
The Celtics visit the Timberwolves for the 2nd and final meeting this season. They won the first game 104-94 in Boston back in December, before Kevin Love was injured. Even though the Wolves have won just 26 games, they are capable of beating you on any given night as they beat the Thunder just last week.
The Celtics are coming off a terrible effort against the Knicks. They settled for way too many outside shots that just weren't falling, shooting just 7 of 25 from beyond the arc. At the same time, they allowed the Knicks to shoot 49% from the field and 52% on 3 pointers.
The Celtics must some way find their focus on the road. They continue to lose games they should win on the road and playing very poorly in the process. They won't have home court in any of their series in the playoffs and if they can't find a way to win on the road, their playoff run may be very short.
Paul Pierce had ice on his ankle after the loss to the Knicks and although he said he was fine, he played 32 minutes and Doc may choose to sit him in this game. The Celtics simply must get more out of every player if they expect to make it out of the first round. Key Matchups
Avery Bradley vs Ricky Rubio
Rubio is back from his ACL tear and is playing well. He's a very good PG who can shoot the ball as well as find the open man. He's also very fast and Avery will need to slow him down to keep the Wolves from getting into their offense and slow them down.
Jeff Green vs Andrei Kirilenko
Kirilenko got off to a slow start due to injuries but he has been playing very well lately. I remember a few years ago, Paul Pierce frustrated him to tears in a game. Hopefully Green can frustrate him in this game. Honorable Mention
Chris Wilcox vs Greg Stiemsma
Chris will face his former teammate at the center spot. Stiemsma has not played as well this year as he did last season, but he's still capable of grabbing rebounds and blocking shots if you don't box him out. Keys to the GameDefense
- The Celtics must defend. The offense feeds off of the defense and if the Celtics can't get stops they struggle on the other end as well. They have to make defense their priority, especially as the playoffs approach. Allowing a team to shoot 52% from beyond the arc isn't going to get it done. Rebound
- The Celtics must get rebounds to prevent second chance points and fast breaks. Rebounding takes effort and desire and the Celtics have got to show both and crash the boards as a team. Pekovic is questionable, but if he plays, this becomes even more important because he is a beast around the basket. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have to be aggressive in going after loose balls and rebounds and in taking the ball to the basket. They also have to be aggressive on defense. When they are aggressive in going to the hoop good things happen. They must be the more aggressive team and they have to stop depending on jumpers, especially when the jumpers aren't falling. Bench Play
- The Wolves have a couple of players off the bench that are tough for teams to match up with in Alexy Shved and JJ Barea. The Celtics bench players must be ready to defend these deceptively quick players. Especially in back to back games, the Celtics need to get production from their bench players and they have to be more consistent. X-Factors
Road Game and Back to Back
Once again the Celtics are on the road and they have struggled on the road, even against the bottom teams in the league. Or, maybe it is especially against the bottom teams in the league. They have to keep their focus and find a way to win on the road because they will have to win on the road in the playoffs. Also, the Celtics are playing in back to back games against a young team with fresh legs. The Celtics are 2-4 in the second game of road/road back to back games.